Linz/Baden. Major award for groundbreaking research by voestalpine Stahl GmbH and Fronius GmbH. The jointly developed steel aluminium blank was awarded the Innovation Prize by specialist magazine Autorevue on Wednesday, 20th October at a gala at Casino Baden.

The steel and aluminium bond is an example of voestalpine’s strategic research and cooperation of voestalpine and Fronius. Although the welding of steel and aluminium has been considered virtually impossible for decades due to the materials’ different material properties, a research team at voestalpine’s Linz site have achieved the breakthrough. The key to this combination, which is revolutionary for the automobile sector, is an innovative form of joint edge which enables the combination of excellent results in pull, pressure and deep drawing tests and provides excellent anti-corrosion properties.

From a technical point of view, the steel and aluminium combination is ready for series production. Actual implementation options are currently being discussed with automobile manufacturers. The advantage of the metallurgic combination using a CMT welding and soldering process is that the hybrid blanks can be reformed into construction parts after the soldering process – in the same way as with conventionally laser-welded steel blanks. The front carriage, cabin and roof are possible areas where the blanks could be used in vehicle production.

The steel and aluminium hybrid blank is clear evidence of how voestalpine’s values and the steel company's ongoing research can benefit industry and society as a whole. During the current financial year, around 100 million Euros are being invested into the field of R&D.

“Our work is based on the principles of specialisation, innovation and technology. The aluminium and steel bond reflects all of these principles in one piece of work”, commented Wolfgang Eder, CEO of voestalpine AG, who celebrated the award with the two successful researchers Enno Arenholz and Alois Leitner.

This is the 9th time the Autorevue Award has been presented within the scope of a celebration gala. As in previous years, the magazine asked its readers to vote for the most popular new developments in the automobile industry over the past year in the categories Small & Compact Cars, Limousines & Estate Cars, Four-by-Fours, Vans, Convertibles, Sports Cars and Alternative. The magazine also awards an innovation prize.

By winning this award, voestalpine Stahl GmbH and Fronius GmbH will join other renowned prize-winners from previous years, including AVL List, Mercedes Benz and BMW.

voestalpine Group

voestalpine is a globally active group with a number of specialized and flexible companies that produce, process and further develop high-quality steel products. The Group is represented by 360 production and sales companies in more than 60 countries. With its highest quality flat steel products, voestalpine is one of Europe's leading partners to the automotive, white goods and energy industries. Furthermore, voestalpine is the world market leader in turnout technology, tool steel and special sections, as well as number one in Europe in the production of rails. The voestalpine Group generated revenues of EUR 8.55 billion in the business year 2009/10 and employs around 41,000 staff throughout the world.